You’ve done the hard work of designing and planning a virtual event. You are likely featuring thought leadership or other great content that highlights your firm’s knowledge and people. Now, it’s time to shift the energy you’ve put into planning and focus on how you are going to get the word out! While you’re in the process of picking the technology, building your webinar team, and designing the holy grail of checklists, you should also be thinking about your promotion plan. From creating an abstract to defining your ideal target to promoting in the right places – marketing an event is a journey best traveled with a map. In this installment of our webinar series, we’ll present some practical advice for promoting a webinar in your accounting firm.
Step 1: Build your abstract
The abstract is a 3-5 sentence statement that tells your audience what your event is about, why they should care, when it is, and how they can join. The abstract sets the tone for your event and will inform the rest of your plan. It should be used consistently across platforms and in all collateral and can be truncated as needed for short-form promotion, such as social media. As an example, here is the abstract from our spring webinar, Advising Through Uncertainty.
As firms respond to the current pandemic, it is hard to imagine thinking about doing more than just surviving. As CPAs, you are uniquely positioned to be a valuable resource to your clients right now. How you engage with your client and advise them now will impact how well you thrive coming out of the current environment. Join us on April 2, 2020, at 12:00 pm to learn what you should be focused right now to survive and thrive. We’ll discuss
- How to prioritize your efforts
- What to focus on in client service
- How to talk to your clients about the impacts of COVID-19 on their business
- Discussing fees in a time of crisis
- Approaches for revenue generation
- Key communications for your clients and staff
Click here to register.
Step 2: Create a promotion plan
Your promotion plan will be a multi-pronged effort. Start by mapping out where information on your event should live and how it will be socialized. Since the event is being delivered in a digital platform, we recommend a strong digital marketing campaign that can link back to registration and replays.
- Website: Develop a landing page and create a link map. This map will list all the pages that will link back to your landing page.
- Social media: Create a promotion plan that includes both targeted and broad email campaigns; draft general social media posts for the firm but also consider writing personalized posts for your niche or partner group to share, and don’t forget to grab that low-hanging fruit by updating blurbs on your social channels and including links in your email signature line to boost awareness. (Pro tip: Video interviews with your speaker will go a long way!)
- Paid digital advertising: If the event is far enough out, consider placing a digital ad with your chamber of commerce or a local publication. You can also design target advertising through Facebook and LinkedIn.
- Internal broadcasts: Ensure the people in your firm who interface with clients, prospects, and referral sources know about the event and how to talk about it. Bring the energy – you can draft an email flyer or create a fun video. Whatever you choose to do, remember that you are doing it to communicate the right information and get people excited about the event.
- Telephone script: Never overlook the power of picking up the phone. Develop a quick and easy script for people to follow when talking about the event and include this promotion in your firm’s voicemail recording.
Step 3: Design your imagery
Your marketing campaign will include “product” placement on your website, in email messaging, on social media, and possibly in print. When you’re drafting your abstract, start to think about how you will present the information in a visual way. You’ll want your graphics or photography to represent the event, align with your brand, and be easily recognizable. Allow your promotion to inform how many sizes of the images you need to produce. Keep in mind that different sizes may dictate different layouts. For instance, you may need a simple banner image for a landing page or your hosting platform, a social media image with registration information for partners and staff to easily share, and an advertising image that succinctly captures your event due to size and word count constraints. The overall look should be consistent, no matter how many versions you create.
Step 4: Design your landing page
Your event landing page serves two purposes. Before the event, your marketing will drive traffic to your landing page so they can learn more about the event, easily share the information, and hopefully register! After the event, this page can be updated to house a form for visitors to access the recording in exchange for their email address. Be sure to include the following on your landing page:
- Branded imagery
- Registration link
- Speaker information
- Contact information
Step 5: Launch, measure, make adjustments
After you hit the “go” button, be sure to measure the performance of your promotions. You’ll want to monitor how many eyeballs are on your campaigns, how many interactions or shares you’re receiving on your social media, and how much traffic you’re getting (and from which sources) to your landing page.
Don’t be afraid to adjust social media messages or campaign language as you get closer to the event date.
The Real Goal: Awareness
If you promote it, they will come – but even if they don’t, not all is lost. As you consider the steps above, remember that a webinar’s real success is not found only in the strength of attendance. A high percentage of attrition is common in free events, and you may only see a small portion of those that registered actually attending your event. While you want to do as much as you can to get people to watch live, just promoting the event can accomplish a meaningful boost in awareness for your firm, thought leadership, speaker, and brand.
In our next installment, find out how to repurpose your webinar to pay dividends beyond the event. In the meantime, if you have any questions about hosting a webinar or need guidance on how to navigate communications or digital promotion, the specialists and consultants on our team can help!